Fitness Bands For COVID-19

As the COVID-19 cases continue to increase in Pakistan, all medical supplies are increasingly difficult to buy.

In particular, if you’re a COVID-19 patient, one of the most basic instruments needed to self isolate at home is oximeter which you’re very unlikely to find at any medical stores. Moreover, if you’re able to find it, they are being sold at a much higher price (generally over 5000 PKR) than they originally retailed at.

In comparison, there are many fitness trackers/bands that continue to retail in the 5000 PKR range in Pakistan including Huawei Band 4 and Honor Band 5. They are pretty accurate for measuring blood saturation levels and here’s a quick demo of that.

I just received mine yesterday. If you’re unable to find oximeter, you might consider buying these bands.

What’s Way More Dangerous Than Most People Think?

I found this interesting reddit post about what’s way more dangerous than most people think?

One of the responses personally got me

Doing nothing for a long period of time.

As I’ve mentioned on this blog earlier, I retired for a bit over 2 years. But the idea of retirement shouldn’t be to prepare yourself to do nothing. Because do nothing gets you, gets you fast, and gets you bad.

Instead, the idea of early retirement should revolve around doing the meaningful. It should revolve around working on things you’re passionate about and working for that passion and not for the associated compensation.

I’ve heard other early retirees say the same.

$3000

On my twitter feed, someone’s trying to raise $3000 so that he can pay for his mother’s cancer treatment.

On my Whatsapp, someone’s looking for financial assistance because he only made $3000 an year and is out of work now.

In Canada, they are paying $3000 each month as financial assistance to those who lost their job due to COVID-19.

80% of the world population would be incredibly happy if only they could make $3000 a month for their family.

Someone somewhere is just shy of making $3000 each day. Because he’s not quite there yet, it’s stirring bit of anxiety in him. He has bartered a big part of everything good about him to be there. Yet, he’s just a little short. He probably needs to trade more of himself. Because he wants it bad enough, he’ll get there. Will it be worth it in the end? That’s for him to decide.

Gratitude

I was complaining to my friend Usama today about the paid growth and the disappointments that I have with Facebook right now. First the competition has gotten so fierce that ad rates take up the lion’s share of the revenue. Secondly, with pandemic looming over us, they are doing lesser manual reviews and relying more on AI. The AI isn’t working so well in my favor right now.

My ad account has been deactivated 3 times in the past 48 hours. It takes 24 hours for them to reinstate and it goes away again much sooner than that. It’s disappointing. Furthermore, I told my friend that the margins are as little as 15% and I miss the good old times of the organic growth where we took home majority of the gross revenue.

The good thing about my conversation with him isn’t that I was able to vent out. It is that that he reminded me of how privileged am I. Most people’s lives have gone to complete stand-still. There are 10s of millions of people unemployed. There are probably going to be 100s of millions when the pandemic runs its course.

So I’m thankful to be able to work. I’m thankful to be in quarantine with my family and I want to take this opportunity to extend my support to anyone who needs it. If I can be of help to you, please feel free to get in touch.

The COVID-19 Challenge For the Governments

The main strategy that all countries seem to have inherited from China is “flatten the curve”. Delay the virus as much as possible so the healthcare system is not overburdened and the vaccination is developed.

China has enough health-care facilities to accommodate 1% of their population concurrently. But even that would only work had the disease spread evenly through-out the country. Any bigger number suggests that fatality rate will be higher as lesser people are able to receive healthcare.

This number varies for different countries and so the fatality rate is going to differ largely between different countries and regions based on the age of affectees, number of cases, and concurrent healthcare facilities available.

Flattening the curve requires that the governments need to control transmission which means that people should spend more time by their own and avoid meeting other people and especially large gatherings. This affects economic activity.

The real challenge for the governments is that they don’t want to bring the economic activity to standstill. In theory, governments could get done with this as quickly as possible. Let it happen to everyone, let the people die, so they restore order and work as quickly as possible. But this involves loss of human lives. The other option is to lockdown everything, quarter after quarter, and let the economies enter a recession that’s going to take a really long time to recover from.

The governments are trying to find the optimal number in order to flatten the curve just enough to sustain the concurrent healthcare and affect economic activity as little as possible. It is why we’re seeing certain world leaders treating this particular disease as “common flu”.

What To Expect From COVID-19 Coronavirus

Bill Gates wrote, and I quote

In the past week, Covid-19 has started behaving a lot like the once-in-a-century pathogen we’ve been worried about. I hope it’s not that bad, but we should assume it will be until we know otherwise.

I recommend that you read the full article written by Bill Gates to get in depth insight on the epidemic. In the meanwhile, just like Bill Gates, I hope it’s not that bad, but for now there’s no reason for me to believe that it isn’t. So I’ve done some reading on the subject myself, and want to present some facts below.

Please note that I’ve no intention of driving panic, and all intentions of initiating correct preparation for the Covid-19 epidemic by sharing my thoughts below.

1) Stock Market

The American stock market is down 15% in last 1 week. Companies will publish their Q1 2020 earning reports between 15th April and 15th May. I expect the stocks to be in downtrend until April/May timeframe, and if earning reports are quite bad, they may trigger a potential recession. Apple has issued an early warning for investors. Actions to take: Sit tight and wait until April/May for more clarity on investment strategy.

2) Vaccination

According to Bill Gates, June could be the earliest time-frame for large-scale vaccination “trials” meaning we are unlikely to have vaccination available at scale and approved by FDA before Q4.

3) China

There’s a unified opinion that China is under-reporting cases. There’s complete lock-down in China and I wouldn’t expect China to cause such damage to their economy for something that’s not very serious.

Most researchers believe the actual number of cases to be 10x more, and hence 800,000 people could be infected in China.

4) Death rates

Death rates are 2-3% in Wuhan and 10% in Iran. The death rate is 1% in rest of China. This makes me believe death rates are obviously dependent on the conditions of health-care available as well as the capacity of number of patients that can be treated simultaneously. Assuming China has the ability to provide better healthcare than global average quality, the death rate could be more on global level.

5) Death numbers

Researchers believe that up-to 20% of the global population could get affected. Assuming 20% of global population and 1% death rate, there will be 14 million deaths. Assuming 0.5% death rate there will be 7 million deaths. And assuming 3% death rate, there could be 42 million deaths.

6) Virality

The virality rate is 3 which means every individual will at average infect 3 other people. This is much higher than common flu where the virality rate is 1.5.

7) What to do

In addition to all the advice that you’ve heard/read so far about washing hands, not shaking hands, avoiding gathering, etc, I recommend that everyone should stock minimum 1 month of grocery and 2 months of medication if someone uses regular medication at home such as for heart or diabetes etc. 60% of all medicine is manufactured in China which is on complete shutdown right now. There will be delays and shortage in medication.

May God protect us all

Why Using 2-Step Opt-In For Web Push Is a Must

For the past few years, many websites have been relying on adding an extra traffic source for desktop and android users by enabling web push notifications.

Browser sends notification to the users asking them to opt in into future web push notifications. The users can either allow or block the notifications. Once a certain number of users block your push notifications, browsers start to mark your notifications as spam or try to curb your push notification marketing efforts.

The solution is pretty simple; and all website owners should do it.

The solution is a 2-step opt-in for web push notification and you may have noticed that many websites do it already. Before the browser sends an opt-in notification, you send a native opt-in notification from your website. This looks something like this.

When a user selects “No thanks”, he simply doesn’t subscribe to your notifications without penalizing your website. When a user selects “Allow”, he is presented with the 2nd step browser opt in

Since the user has already accepted your invitation to opt in on the first step, it’s unlikely that the user will select block at the 2nd step. If many users click on block at this step, your website has a likelihood of getting penalized by the browser for future web push notifications. 

It is why it is highly recommended that you never present the browser opt-in as your first line of invitation. The web push opt-in should always be hidden behind the website’s native opt-in.

My Chromecast Goes Everywhere With Me

I don’t have a smart TV at home. I don’t think that paying extra for smart TV is a better solution than buying streaming devices such as Chromecast or Fire Stick. There are many reasons why I think that, but here are my four favorite reasons.

I take my my streaming device everywhere with me. I shamelessly plug it in all my hotel rooms and all my Airbnbs so my smart TV also moves with me regardless of what the hotel or the apartment offers.

I don’t want to deal with firmwares of TVs and be at their mercy for updates, app supports, and to determine what I can or can not do with my TV.

Despite these two additional advantages, streaming devices actually cost lesser money than the difference between smart and regular version of the same TV model.

Lastly, many people don’t know this but Chromecast shows significantly lesser ads on Youtube than any of it’s counterparts. It’s the extra juice you get for staying loyal to both the service and the product.

Do you prefer smart TVs or streaming devices? What is your favorite streaming device and why?

Pakistan-Turkey Dual Citizenship, Myth & Facts

Today I met a Turk who is a student immigration advisor. His firm runs ads on Google but has recently stopped advertising in Pakistan. The reason he did that is because their query volume increased by 1000% in the last week. All of their budget was getting consumed by leads that didn’t convert. That happened because a news story surfaced in Pakistan about Pakistan and Turkey looking forward to sign a dual-citizenship agreement.

The news was interpreted in Pakistan with an assumption that all Pakistanis will automatically become Turkish citizens and all Turks will automatically become Pakistani citizens. The news was fueled by all Pakistani newspapers who are responsible for giving that feel to the news. This was further fueled by celebrities such as Hamza Ali Abbasi who called this resurgence of Khilafat movement and further suggested that we should also have one currency like European Union (WTF, Hamza bro?).

The truth is that all of that is baseless. There is indeed a deal between the governments happening, but the deal only means that any individual is now able to keep both citizenships in an event he’s offered one such citizenship through regular means such as by marriage, investment, naturalization (spending time etc), or through any other means that existed before. This agreement is identical to how Pakistanis can keep both Pakistani and American citizenships at the same time. But not all Pakistanis automatically become Americans.

Without this agreement in place, all Pakistanis had to give up their Pakistani citizenship in order to acquire Turkish citizenship and vice versa.

Pakistan already has such deals with many other countries including muslim countries such as Egypt, Syria, Jordan & Bahrain. Pakistan also has this treaty with many western and European countries. A treaty of this kind with Turkey is a step in right direction, but it isn’t what everyone has concluded it to be.